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First Draft of the Synod’s Message

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The first draft of the Synodal Message on the Word of God has been presented. Mons. Gianfranco Ravasi, famous italian exegete, is the president of the commission charged with producing the Message. Below is an excerpt of a report about the draft and some other first hand observations about the Synod.

The Synod of Bishops on the Word of God, ongoing at the Vatican, presented this morning the first draft of the concluding message. The text will be discussed and voted upon in the following days until the definitive version is achieved. This latter will be made known next Friday. Isabella Piro reports.

It was a draft of the message, certainly, still to be reviewed, integrated, perfected and voted upon by the synodal Fathers until it becomes definitive. But it was a draft of the message that was accepted with a warm applause in the Synod Hall and described as filled with enthusiasm and capable of encouraging Christians to live the Word of God.

Monsignor Gianfranco Ravasi was charged — as president of the Commission for the Message of the Synod, to present the guidelines within which the content of the definitive text will develop. First, the bishop highlighted three criteria that will be the basis for the elaboration of the final document: what is essential, that is, the capacity to arrive at a maximal simplication, eliminating the superfluous, in the same way as a sculptor takes away from a raw material. Then, it must be incisive so that the final Message — the bishop said — would not become long and flat like a sword. Finally, the text should offer content with values and fundamental principles.

As expected, the principal suggestion is that of presenting in the Message some “conjugations” in the Word of God: its voice (Revelation), its face (Christ), its house (the Church) and its roads (the mission). In particular, it was proposed that a message of gratitude be inserted into the text for all the servants of the Word of God, from the catechists to the teachers, to those who announce and witness to the Divine Word in the frontiers, facing sacrifices and putting at risk their own lives.

From the formal perspective, on the other hand, the proposal to come up with a synthesis of the final text was reiterated. It should be of not more than two pages, to be distributed in the parishes, so that the faithful may desire to approach and know better the activity of the Synod. Finally, many have expressed the hope that the final Message be a witness to the fact that the Synod of Bishops took into consideration the concrete and urgent pastoral challenges, like that of freedom of religion and that it reflected on the double aspect of mission: whether towards those who have not yet known the Word of God, or those who have known it but have forgotten it, those whom the Conferenza di Aparecida has called “baptized, but not evangelized.”

It was a Synod therefore that has strongly presented its pastoral and missionary objectives, as confirmed by Sr. Nuria Calduch Benages, teacher of Biblical Theology of the Old Testament at the Gregorian University and a participant in the Synod as an expert.

This Synod has not been a Synod turned towards experts and exegetes. It is a Synod with a purpose that prioritizes pastoral and missionary goals. I think that its contribution will make its mark in the life of the Church, in the life of the faithful.
The presence of women is numerous among the listeners and the experts, in this same Synod. What do you think about it?
It is an important fact that should not be overlooked. We are 25, 6 experts and 19 listeners. This is something unique in the history of the Church. It is very significative in the sense that it opens the door to a future — I hope not far from now — in which the participation of women grows even larger. Now more than ever, there are many woman, not only religious but also lay, specialized in many biblical studies, theological, archeological, and in many sciences related to the Bible or to Theology who can offer great contribution.
From the interventions made, which among those coming from other countries struck you the most?
What struck me in a special way is the context of tremendous secularization that is lived in the continent of Oceania. The bishop of Australia specially has illustrated well the religious indifference that has invaded the life of the faithful who believe but it is as if they don’t believe. The situation in Australia is not so different from what we live in Europe.
What do you believe will the common people receive, understand and comprehend from the Synod of Bishops?
At least that the Word of God is important, that the Word of God is read and lived. I think that these are the two dimensions that are important. Without excluding, obviously, the Word of God in the sacraments. The central factor is the knowledge of the Word of God. That the Word of God still has something to say to one’s personal life. Otherwise it becomes a mere object of study and this is the wrong way of approaching the Word.

This excerpt was translated from this article from RadioVaticana

Originally posted 2008-10-21 02:34:01. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

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